HPE supercomputer chosen for brain simulation

HPE supercomputer
The Blue Brain Project’s new supercomputer is based on the HPE SGI 8600 System. (HPE Photo)

Hewlett Packard Enterprise says it’s been selected to build a supercomputer designed to simulate the inner workings of the mouse brain by 2020.

The computer, known as Blue Brain 5, will become the platform for the Blue Brain Project, a Swiss-led campaign to model and simulate the mammalian brain. The project — which is under the supervision of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, or EPFL — meshes with international neuroscience efforts such as Europe’s Human Brain Project and the U.S. BRAIN Initiative.

“The Blue Brain Project’s scientific mission is critically dependent on our supercomputing capabilities,” project co-director Felix Schürmann said today in a news release announcing the collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

“Modeling an individual neuron at Blue Brain today leads to around 20,000 ordinary differential equations – when modeling entire brain regions, this quickly raises to 100 billion equations that have to be solved concurrently,” Schürmann said. “HPE helps us to navigate the challenging technology landscape in supercomputing.”

HPE was awarded an initial contract for the project at the end of 2017, and follow-up work could bring the total value of the award to more than $18 million.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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